PROJECT: 05-DJC:174.9

This is Deirdre's Breast Cancer Diary. I try to update this blog at least every evening. This is an easy way for me to keep a journal of the experience, and at the same time, I can keep my friends and family up-to-date on what is going on. I find it is not so bad to have cancer, but it is awfully depressing to talk about it. I hope you laugh as you read along. You can find the beginning in February ...in the archives. Thanks again for reading :o)

Friday, March 11, 2005

My CITC experience

I was late to my PET scan. Ten minutes late. The CITC office was down on Oak Road in Pleasant Hill...not close to the hospital at all. The appointment was for 8:00am, but we were supposed to be there at 7:20am. Hello! That is like way early for me. But anyway, we got stuck in a boatload of traffic on Ygnacio Valley Road (like most everyone does) and then more traffic on Treat Blvd. Anyway, we did get there. We introduced ourselves to the receptionist and she immediately made me feel like I had just peed on the brand new carpet. I felt so bad. She made me feel bad. She has no idea how many appointments I have had since February 7th. She has no idea that I have been early to each and every one of those appointments. I am a good patient. We are cheerful and compliant. We are friendly with the people who work in the medical offices we visit and are cooperative in every way. How dare she make me feel like a 2nd grader? She has no idea what it is to be like me. So I started to cry. The time since my diagnosis has been short, but the road has been long...and stressful. I tried to cut her some slack telling myself that I was just being sensitive. Pretty counterproductive to upset the patients who come in for a PET scan. They inject you with a radioactive material and then have you relax in a dark room with only new age music - no books - no reading - no talking - no stress. Well, I made it through the 45 minutes of darkness, and then the additional 25 minutes of PET scan (no moving - no talking - no stress, etc.). But when I came out of that place, Mark told me that of the four people who were now waiting in the waiting area of the place, all four of them had some kind of controversy with the receptionist. Gosh! She is batting .1000! All very stressful situations, and most of the patients were over 65 years old. Shame on her. Bad. I wonder if one's test scan results indicate high stress they are required to retest. She must be rich on commission. During the time I was resting in the back or having my scan, Mark was in the waiting area. This is what he witnessed: One of the patients asked to speak with someone about insurance, and did not want to complete the forms before discussing the insurance with someone. (PET scans are very expensive...and he was smart to not want to fill out any treatment forms before speaking with someone). The receptionist insisted that he fill out forms prior to speaking with anyone. Another patient was told to fill out forms for the umpteenth time, even though nothing in his medical history had changed from the last three times he had to fill them out. Yet another was upset at having to wait for over an hour for her appointment. One woman was also upset that she had to complete the paperwork again (she had done it before) . The receptionist kept insisting that she fill them out. No ifs, ands, or buts. The woman asked if the receptionist could help her with the papers...and the receptionist just gave her a look as if to say "Are you kidding me?" Well, the older woman then explained that she could not read english, that her sister usually comes with her and helps her with that part (she is an older Italian woman). At this point another young lady behind the counter comes forward and begins reading the questions to her aloud, "What is your diagnosis?" "What is your name?" "What is your address?" I started to cry whan Mark was telling me this story. At this point Mark could take it no longer and interrupted: "Shouldn't you take her back into the office for this?" The woman said, "Yes, I would like that." So they did take her back to help her. Gosh, for such an expensive test, they sure have crappy personnel up front. The establishment takes measures to insure a stress-free environment which will produce a stress-free patient for test time, but the intercourse in the reception area is counterproductive to that end. They irritated every patient that morning. It was awful. This is another lesson you learn on the road of life: compassion. It is easy when you are young to judge another person and treat them unkindly or harshly. But once you walk a mile in their proverbial moccasins, you begin to see things differently. You heart is not so quick to be hurt, but it is quick to feel for others' pain. You are more apt to stop and think about how their heart has been injured and what messes they have had to fight their way out of. Why is it so hard for people to be nice?

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